Website Copyright Trolling - Your Legal Rights

Posted on: 21 September 2016

Pretty much every business has a website these days, and bespoke sites can be expensive to commission.  So how can you ensure that your site and its content aren't copied and used by internet copyright trolls?  Read on for some helpful information.


Although you can copyright every page of your website by simply applying the copyright symbol (©), this won't prevent trolls from stealing your content, layout or site design.  If you have registered your site officially for copyright, you may then be able to take legal action against thieves for infringement of your copyright.

Before you launch your site, speak to a lawyer in your area to find out what is 'copyrightable' and what is not.

Action in the event of copyright infringement

If you have your site officially registered for copyright and you discover that it has been copied, you can apply to have the infringing site taken down.  Your lawyer can take this action on your behalf by instructing the hosting company to remove the site from their platform.

It's really important that you go through a lawyer to request a site 'take down', rather than just asking the hosting company to do so yourself.  This is because the hosting company is not obliged to remove the copied material unless the request is in the correct format as per civil law.  In addition, if it transpires that the material copied is actually widely available in the public domain and is therefore not sufficiently original to justify your insistence of copyright, you could be counter-sued if your take down request is deemed to be inappropriate.

Future protection

The best way of protecting your site and its content from future attack by copyright trolls is to register the material officially.  You should also check that you have the correct contracts in place with the authors/web designers that you used to create the material in the first place.

It should also be noted that you can't copyright your website in its entirety.  When you register your online material for copyright, you must specify each separate part of the site including:

  • text
  • graphics
  • photographs
  • music
  • videos

In conclusion

Creating a website for your business can be an expensive undertaking so it's important that you make sure that the law is on your side when it comes to copyright and protecting your content from attack by trolls.  Copyright law can be complicated so it's best to discuss registering your work with a lawyer in your area who has experience in this field.